NBI to probe Aguirre, Esperon links to death threats vs Atong Ang

MANILA-- Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II on Tuesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe on the allegation of "jueteng" lord Charlie Atong Ang stating that he and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon are the ones behind the death threats received by the latter.

Ang said he was warned by his friends from the NBI about Aguirre and Esperon's standing order to kill him.

The National Bureau of Investigation through Director Dante Gierran, is hereby directed and granted authority to conduct investigation and case build-up over the accusations of Charlie Atong Ang against the Secretary of Justice and National Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr., , Aguirre said in his Department Order No. 267 issued Tuesday.

Aguirre said he ordered the investigation to identify Ang's 'friends' at the NBI.

He pays government officials for protection and these officials include people from the NBI and the Immigration. I have already ordered an investigation to identify who these people are, Aguirre said.

Aguirre said Ang is simply afraid he could lose his source of income that brings him earnings of up to PHP50-million a day.

Ang is the owner of Meridien Vista Gaming Corporation (MVGC). It operates a jai alai facility in Sta. Ana, Cagayan whose franchise was granted by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) during the Arroyo administration.

Ang also said that Aguirre's plan include using NBI agents to get him so as to eliminate jueteng to expand the government's Small Town Lottery system since the Justice Secretary's brother, Ogie, controlled STL operations from Southern Tagalog to the Bicol region.

Wala pong katotohanan yan yung kapaptid ko hindi engage sa anumang gambling operation and may siansabi pa yan meron akong bagman na isang congressman hindi ko alam sino yang congressman na yan imposibleng yun ito ay paranoid at yang akala nya tama na pag akusa ng wala ng ebidensya. maglabas ka ng ebidensya Atong hindi puro daldal ka, Aguirre said in a radio interview.

Aguirre denied again the latest allegations of Ang that he was the protector of casino junket operator Kim Wong and that he even acted as a ninong of one of the latter's children.

Aguirre said there is no truth to the claim of Ang which he called is a liar and has a habit of making unfounded accusations.

'Kim Wong is never my kumpare. I am never a ninong of any of his children. Atong Ang is a liar, Aguirre said when sought for comment on Ang's latest allegations against him.

Ang also noted that Aguirre's department excluded Wong from the respondents in the money laundering charges it has filed against those involved in the million in Bangladeshi money stolen by hackers last year which founds its way through the country's financial system.

He said that Wong was one of the recipients of the stolen money but that the resolution issued by the DOJ prosecutors cleared Wong on any liabilities and indicted only former RCBC Jupiter Makati Branch head Maia Santos Deguito and the four fictitious bank depositors Enrico Teodoro Vasquez, Alfred Santos Vergara, Michael Francisco Cruz, Jessie Christopher Lagrosas as well as Philrem owners-spouses Salud Bautista and Michael Bautista and Philrem's anti-money laundering compliance officer Anthony Pelejo.

Ang said this was despite's Wong's admission in a Senate inquiry that million of the stolen money were remitted to him.

Wong returned USD 15 million, saying the rest of the amount then ended up with casino personalities.

Ang also accused Aguirre of ordering former Immigration deputy commissioners Michael Robles and Al Argosino to extort money from Lam after authorities raided his illegal online gambling operations in Clark, Pampanga last year.

He also said it was the DOJ chief himself who made it possible for retired police officer Wally Sombero to leave the country in January this year despite the issuance of an immigration look-out bulletin order against him.

He said Aguirre also asked him through Sandra Cam which he said is a friend if his not to reveal his alleged role in the extortion on Lam in the Senate inquiry on the controversy.

But Aguirre reiterated his previous assertion that Ang only wanted to get back at him after he ordered the raid on Lam's illegal online gambling operations.

He wants to get back at me for busting the illegal gambling operations of Fontana Leisure Park owned by Jack Lam, his business partner and best friend. He is also paranoid that his big incomes from illegal gambling will come to an end, Aguirre added.

He also reiterated his challenge to Ang to present evidence to back up his allegations.

Maglabas ka ng ebidensya dahil ang mga akusasyon nya sa akin ay walang katotohanan (He should present evidence since his accusations against me are devoid of truth), Aguirre added.

Aguirre said he will ask the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to determine the tax liabilities of Ang and his companies.

The DOJ Secretary said that government will also investigate alleged link of Ang with personalities behind the destabilization plot against the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

This is clearly a demolition job against me, in conspiracy with the destabilizers of the Duterte administration, he added.

Saying he has nothing to hide, Aguirre said he is ready to face any probe.

I am ready to face any kind of investigation that might be conducted, be it legislative, criminal or administrative. I am not afraid as I have nothing to hide. My conscience is clear, Aguirre said

Last week, police raided the gambling dens of Meridien in Tuguegarao City and Enrile and PeAablanca towns that result the arrest of 63 people involved in jueteng operations.

Ang's employee Edwin Articulo led the raiding team to a sport utility vehicle where jueteng was being drawn in Barangay Catayaoan, Lasam.

Police also seized cash and computer units during the raid.

The raid came after Ang accused Aguirre and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. of plotting to kill him to eliminate jueteng and to expand government's small-town lottery.

Meridien, which secured a license to operate within the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority in Sta. Ana town, expanded its operations to Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan and Bicol.

Source: Philippines News Agency